Scot becomes youngest Briton to complete solo Antarctic trek

AN ABERDEENSHIRE man has become the youngest Briton to complete a 730-mile trek across the Antarctic alone.
Luke Robertson takes a selfie during an expedition training course in Eastern Greenland last yearLuke Robertson takes a selfie during an expedition training course in Eastern Greenland last year
Luke Robertson takes a selfie during an expedition training course in Eastern Greenland last year

Luke Robertson, originally from Stonehaven, reached the South Pole at around 2.30am after 39 days skiing unassisted in “unforgiving” conditions.

The 30-year-old is also the first Scot to achieve the feat, which has raised £45,000 for Marie Curie cancer charity.

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Mr Robertson, who now lives in Edinburgh, dragged 130kg of equipment across miles of ice and snow, burned more than 400,000 calories and climbed twice the height of Ben Nevis, all while braving temperatures of -50C and up to 100mph winds.

He set off from Hercules Inlet on the edge of Antarctica on December 5, spending Christmas Day on his own.

Speaking from the South Pole, he thanked supporters “around the world” for their messages.

“What an unbelievable and surreal feeling. I feel on top of the bottom of the world.” he said.

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“All those months of training and preparation have really paid off, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people who have helped to make this expedition a success. In particular, my fiancee Hazel, my parents, family, friends and colleagues for their unwavering support.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to Marie Curie; they are an incredible charity, very close to my heart, and I feel so proud to be representing them on this expedition.

“I hope this shows that you really can overcome challenges to achieve your dreams, whatever they may be. It’s amazing to repay the faith put in me by all my supporters. Now, I think it’s time for a big feed, a wee dram and a shower.”

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Supporters, including explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, congratulated him on his achievement.

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Sir Ranulph said: “I am delighted that Luke has reached the South Pole and becomes the youngest Brit ever to do so, unaided. It is an incredible achievement and I hope that his adventure inspires others to achieve their own goals in life and to raise funds for Marie Curie - a charity also close to my heart.”

Dr Jane Collins, chief executive of Marie Curie said: “We’d like to say a huge congratulations and thank you to Luke Robertson. His record-breaking solo adventure to the South Pole for Marie Curie shows that through sheer determination anything is possible. We are immensely grateful to everyone who has got behind Luke as he completed his challenge of a lifetime for people living with a terminal illness.”

The adventurer was inspired to embark on the challenge after overcoming a series of health problems, including surgery to remove a suspected brain tumour a year ago, which turned out to be a large and rare cyst.

He also had a pacemaker fitted at 23 after suffering a complete heart block.

Last year, British schoolboy Lewis Clarke, 16, became the youngest person to trek to the South Pole, accompanied by a guide, Carl Alvey.